GWR 2800 Class 2‑8‑0 No. 2859
With a clear road ahead GWR 2800 Class 2‑8‑0 No. 2859, from 86G Pontypool Road, storms towards the camera at Barnt Green with a Class 8 loose‑coupled freight heading in the Gloucester direction on 17th September 1964. No. 2859 was the last steam locomotive to be overhauled at Wolverhampton Works from whence it departed under its own steam on 11th February 1964.
Photograph by Peter Hands
As we move into September little did I realise that plans were afoot for me to step on the bottom rung of the ladder as a signalman in my own right. Unbeknown to myself my signalman, Gordon, had for some time been assessing my capabilities and confidence with operating the levers and bells systems, plus encouraging me to swot up on the rules and regulations, duly reporting his opinions of the same to a signals inspector on a regular basis. As a result of his reports I was invited to take up a post as a Class 4 signalman at Hatton West, on the branch to Claverdon and Stratford‑upon‑Avon commencing as a trainee a few weeks into September under the watchful gaze and guidance of established and more senior operatives.
As a result of my impending move I could only record my sightings up to the 19th September and with the transition of the summer to winter timetable it had the profound effect of drastically reducing steam hauled passenger trains and there was a massive decline in sightings of LMS Jubilees. The highlight in September was the employment of a BR Britannia Class 4‑6‑2 powering a normally diesel rostered express on two consecutive days, a most unusual occurrence on the former Midland main line even when steam reigned supreme. What made it more unusual was that the Britannia was a London based engine.
LMS: Jubilee Class 4‑6‑0’s Nos. 45552 Silver Jubilee (5A Crewe – North), 45611 Hong Kong (16C Derby), 45626 Seychelles (55A Leeds – Holbeck), 45670 Howard of Effingham (16C Derby), 45675 Hardy (55A Leeds – Holbeck) and 45697 Achilles (55A leeds – Holbeck).
Note: Assuming my maths is correct, I have calculated that I noted some thirty‑one different Jubilees during my time at Barnt Green and of these only sixteen survived in service into 1965 and beyond: Nos. 45562, 45573, 45589, 45590, 45593, 45597, 45602, 45608, 45626, 45653, 45655, 45661, 45675, 45684, 45697 and 45721.
Other LMS locos noted:
Class 4 2‑6‑0 No. 43112 (5D Stoke). Class 4F 0‑6‑0 No. 44214 (16C Derby) – pressed into service up the Lickey Incline with E35 express from Worcester. Class 5 4‑6‑0’s Nos. 44830 (16C Derby), 44910 (2F Bescot), 44990 (56D Mirfield), 45241 (5D Stoke). Class 8F 2‑8‑0’s Nos. 48000 (16F Burton), 48128 (16F Burton), 48198 (16C Derby), 48271 (16F Burton), 48284 (16C Derby), 48517 (1G Woodford Halse), 48613 (9F Heaton Mersey), 48662 (16F Burton), 48704 (16C Derby), 48750 (16G Westhouses).
LNER locos noted:
B1 Class 4‑6‑0 No. 61250 A.Harold Bibby (40B Immingham)
BR & WD locos noted:
Britannia Class 4‑6‑2 No. 70014 Iron Duke (1A Willesden) – V43 express. Class 5 4‑6‑0 No. 73091 (85B Gloucester – Horton Road). Class 4 4‑6‑0 No. 75062 (5D Stoke). Class 9F 2‑10‑0’s Nos. 92046 (8H Birkenhead), 92049 (16A Toton), 92150 (2E Saltley), 92204 (2A Tyseley).
(Conspicuous by their absence were 9F’s from South Wales depots.)
WD: Class 8F 2‑8‑0’s Nos. 90085 (41E Staveley Barrow Hill), 90529 (41E Staveley Barrow Hill), 90540 (36C Frodingham), 90695 (50B Hull – Dairycoates).
GWR locos noted:
2800 Class 2‑8‑0 No. 2859 (86G Pontypool Road). Hall Class 4‑6‑0 No. 4985 Allesley Hall (87A Neath). Grange Class 4‑6‑0’s Nos. 6820 Kingstone Grange (88A Cardiff East Dock), 6842 Nunhold Grange (2A Tyseley), 6847 Tidmarsh Grange (88A Cardiff East Dock), 6858 Woolston Grange (2B Oxley). Hall Class 4‑6‑0 No. 6956 Mottram Hall (85B Gloucester – Horton Road). Modified Hall Class 4‑6‑0’s Nos. 6984 Owsden Hall (88A Cardiff East Dock), 6995 Benthall Hall (85B Gloucester – Horton Road). Manor Class 4‑6‑0 No. 7826 Longworth Manor (87F Llanelly). 9400 Class 0‑6‑0PT No. 8403 (85D Bromsgrove).
Despite the decline in numbers locomotives still ranged from depots as far apart as Birkenhead to Immingham, Heaton Mersey to Willesden and Hull to Llanelly & Neath..
And so I bade farewell to Barnt Green Main Line signalbox amidst the beautiful Worcestershire countryside and the backdrop of the Lickey Hills and moved on to the next chapter in my life. A lasting memory on one particular warm September evening was listened to the roar of the banking engines coming up the Lickey Incline. Although I did not know it at the time steam banking from 85D Bromsgrove was to cease within a few short weeks of my leaving and I will sign off with two photographic memories of the same.
GWR 9400 Class 0‑6‑0 PT No. 8401
Bromsgrove in happier times. In the depot yard (85D) three bankers await their next calls for assistance. From left to right on 13th April 1963 are GWR 9400 Class 0‑6‑0 PT No. 8401, LMS Class 3F ‘Jinty’ 0‑6‑0T No. 47506 and 9400 Class 0‑6‑0PT No. 9401. Of the trio No. 47506 lasted the longest. Transferred to 82F Bath Green Park in November 1963 it survived in service there until March 1966.
Photograph by Peter Hands
GWR 9400 Class 0‑6‑0PT No. 8403
We take our leave of Barnt Green – Bromsgrove – Lickey Incline with this image of a banking locomotive in action. GWR 9400 Class 0‑6‑0PT No. 8403 (85D) is going full pelt past the camera at the rear of an express bound for Birmingham (New Street) and beyond again on 13th April 1963. Today, apart from the odd steam hauled special, the sights and sounds of the Lickey Incline are but memories for those of us who were lucky enough to witness them.
Photograph by Peter Hands